Portsmouth service will pay tribute to chemical victims

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A CEREMONY to remember the thousands of victims who lost their lives during Halabja Day is being held in the city tomorrow.

People who attend the service will pay tribute to the 5,000 people who lost their lives and more than 10,000 who were injured when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on his opponents in the Kurdish town of Halabja, Iraq, on March 16, 1988.

There will be speeches made by survivors of the day who now live in Portsmouth, and from representatives of the city, including Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.

Live footage from the day will also be shown at the event, which organisers have warned is not suitable for children.

Brian Futcher, who helped organise the event on behalf of the Halabja Chemical Victim Society, said: ‘The ceremony is a chance for people to think about the acts of the day and remember those who died.

‘It was a terrible day and was traumatic for everyone involved – it should never be forgotten. It’s important that people realise the reality of what happened and take a moment to think about it.’

The service begins in the Omega Centre, Somers Town, at 2pm, and is expected to last around an hour.